3rd July 2015

Visiting the Lake District Tarns - Walk 58

Tarns between Hawkshead and Windermere

Time 8:10am to 2:30pm
Duration 6 hr 20 min
Distance 13.7 mile
Ascent 1900ft
Walking with On my own
Hawkshead - Colthouse - Colthouse Plantation - Lily Pond - Guid Posts - Highs Moss Tarn - Scale Head Tarn - Wise Eem Tarn - Three Dubs Tarn - Moss Eccles Tarn - Near Sawrey - Far Sawrey - Scale Ivy Tarn - Windermere Shore path - Belle Grange - Scab Moss - Nor Moss Tarn - High Wray - Blelham Tarn - Hole House - Loanthwaite Lane - Scar House Lane - Hawkshead
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre -
Car park, Hawkshead

Despite the size of this car park, the popularity of Hawkshead makes it a bit of a hit and miss affair as far as getting a space goes. If you do manage to get parked then you're in for a real treat because Hawkshead really does give you a glimpse back in time.

Needless to say there is a substantial charge the privilege of parking here.


Weather Readings

The Gadget
All readings were taken using a Kestrel 2000 Weather Meter
Live temperature recorded at the time I press the hold key
Maximum Wind Speed Maximum wind speed since the weather meter was turned on at each location Average Wind Speed
Average wind speed since the weather meter was turned on at each location
Wind Chill
Combination of wind speed and temperature. The gadget does the calculations not me.

Route Map


Out of all the tarns walks I'm doing this year this is the one I've looked forward to more than any other. More so than any of the higher level, more adventurous and more demending routes I had planned. So, the conditions had to be just right, which for me meant a hot summers day with little in the way of wind and no chance at all of any rain. Today was that day.

As I passed through Colthouse a lady was just stepping out of her house when she offered a "good morning" and said "you're out and about earlier than most people". I passed on a "morning" and agreed with her by saying "it's the best time of day to be setting off". Little did she know I'd actually delayed the walk by a couple of hours so I could miss most of the cloud still lingering about from the previous night.
She'd be the last person I would see until I got to Near Sawrey. Okay, there was also the big group at Three Dubs Tarn but I'm not counting them and that's a different story anyway.

The first tarn today is this one named Lily Pond. It's on private land but the path passes very close to the tarn, albeit on the opposite side of the wall.



Zooming in a little bit on the Fairfield Horseshoe. with Fairfield itself still topped with cloud.

Forest tracks on route to Highs Moss.

I'm not sure why, but for some reason this tree has managed to escape the woodcutter's axe. I suppose the reason doesn't really matter but because it is here, I can point out that the fell on the left of the tree is Wansfell Pike with Red Screes to the left again. On the right, the dark pointed one is Ill Bell with Yoke to the right of that.

I'm afraid Highs Moss Tarn is one of those 'lesser of two evils' places. At this time of year the tarn of somewhat overgrown with reeds, grasses and other summer stuff so there isn't much water on show. At other times of the year the tarn is actually quite big but, looks a lot less attractive and quite lifeless.

Out of the woods again and now looking across to Scale Head Tarn and Wise Een Tarn.


Scale Head Tarn, taken from it's dam. I wonder if the water used to come right up to the dam. If it did, the tarn would have been a heck of a lot bigger than it is now.

A short walk across the field is Wise Een Tarn but first I wanted to visit several other tarns in the area. Sadly I was out of luck because they're on private land and the signs made it clear that I could go no further. Disappointing yes, but I had expected this to be honest.


On that note I turn around and walk back alongside Wise Een Tarn.

Wise Een Tarn seen from the main track through the area.

What a lovely spot.

Three Dubs Tarn was next and to get here I had to do a short out and back. What I hadn't expected was to find the place packed with people. On the approach I could hear voices but assumed it was just another couple of walkers. Then I saw the 4x4s, the tents, and several large groups of people, each group standing in a sort of semi-circle and being talked to by someone.

Right, OK, this is a bit weird, I was thinking to myself, and without realising it I'd slowed right down so I had thinking time before having the unavoidable job of walking right past everyone. I was expecting to be told I wasn't supposed to be there. In which case my defence would have been to plead ignorance and ask how I get to Moss Eccles Tarn (even though I know full well how to get there). I'm sure I must have looked as much out of place to them as they did to me. And, if I'm totally honest I felt more than a little bit like an intruder. Once I'd got within view of everyone I'd have looked like a right idiot if I turned around and fled so all I could do was act as if this type of thing happens to me everyday.

On the plus side, several of the people eased my apprehension by smiling and saying good morning.






Now, I had to walk past everyone one again, only this time I heard one of the 'leaders' talking to his group and I also saw his whiteboard and the pyramid he had drawn on it. From the few sentences I overheard I assumed this was some sort of corporate team building event or something of that nature. You know the type of thing I mean. Everyone at work gets invited but nobody actually wants to go, however, the carrot on the end of the stick is a day away from the office so you make out it's the best thing ever. I suspect the only thing half of these people will remember from the event is the beautiful weather and the insect bites.

The sign says where I am so there no point in me waffling on about it.



OMG (as the abbreviation goes), it just doesn't get more tranquil than this. Well folks, I have to admit what thoughts went through my mind as I sat here for a little while. If I'd laid down, fell asleep, and never woke up, I'd have had the most peaceful departure imaginable.

and on that cheery note I walk across and take a picture of the dam.

From Moss Eccles Tarn I follow this lonnin to Near Sawrey. It's really hoting up now; fantastic.

Approaching Near Sawrey.



Looking back to Near Sawrey.

A short walk (half a mile) through the valley and I'm in Far Sawrey,


Looking back over the valley to Near Sawrey with the Coniston Fells in the far distance.


Right, it would have been easy to say nowt and you'd never have been any the wiser but there's no point in trying to brush stuff under the carpet so, this is what I found when I reached Scale Ivy Tarn. By the look of that patch of brown, I'm sure there must be water in here sometimes, but today, all I found was grass. Never mind.

I press on and I'm soon walking downhill through the woods towards the western shore of Windermere.

The walk just gets better and better. Never mind the views though, I'm getting really hungry so I need to find a comfortable stone to sit on.




I follow the path along the edge of the lake as far as Belle Grange.
Then, I head back uphill to reach Nor Moss and it's tarn.

On route I pass Scab Moss; one of the restored peat bogs in the area,

This is a good place to hide a hide.

Given the boggyness of the place, I'm not brave enough (or stupid enough) to get any closer to the water's edge than this.

Nor Moss Tarn seen from the hide.

After leaving Nor Moss Tarn I made my way through the woods to emerge above High Wray. Here I zoom in on Ambleside and the Scandale fells.

High Wray cottages.

and a High Wray wheelbarrow.


Blelham Tarn is quite large but there are only a couple of places you can get close to the water on this side and even then the trees are in the way. I reckon it's much nicer when viewed from a distance anyway.



It's about 2 mile from Blelham Tarn to Hawkshead, most of which is across farmland like this. The walk itself was really lovely, and very easy, but, if I can only offer you one piece of advice it would be don't stand still for too long because the insects around here seem to have a particular liking for human flesh.

Here's a long distance view across to Coniston Old Man, Wetherlam and everything between the two.


I expected Hawkshead to be packed when I got back but was really surprised at how quiet it was.

And to sum up the walk - this one goes straight to number 1 in the most enjoyable walk of 2015 competition.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks